Constructing and Negotiating Work under New Capitalism : Case studies from the Greater Helsinki Region

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Title: Constructing and Negotiating Work under New Capitalism : Case studies from the Greater Helsinki Region
Author: Louhivuori, Anna Eveliina
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies
Date: 2010-02-17
Language: en
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sociology
Abstract: According to Ulrich Beck's theory of reflexive modernisation people today suffer from insecurity and constant risks in all aspects of their life. A major factor dictating their individual biographies is their work. Work in today's world has become an essential ingredient in defining personal identities and relationships. For Beck as a consequence of the modern work environment new insecurities and inequalities in comparison to the industrial epoch have emerged; a development of risk biographies. This thesis examines how international professionals in the Greater Helsinki Region construct and negotiate the meaning of their work and the organisation of their work. Specifically, through the critical discourse analytic method of Norman Fairclough the focus of the research is on the impact of power and ideology of new capitalism on individual discourses. This is studied by exploring whether a shift emerges in the participants' discourses of their work during interviews pertaining to the new financial crises of the late 2000s as well as the impact of the effects of the information age. The data is supported by the method of reflexive social processes of participant observation. The analysis of the interviews shows that the individuals, in contrast to the theory of reflexive modernity, did not present themselves as insecure nor facing constant risk in their individual discourse of work; even during discussions of the new financial crisis. Instead, it was discovered that the participants constructed themselves as in control of their biographies, both disciplined and self-managed, in contrast to the volatility of the market forces. The observed feelings of self-management are in accordance with Fairclough's original thesis and demonstrate that the participants have internalised new capitalism's ideology of neo-liberalism, further propelling the cause of the capitalist market forces in their work places. By internalising this ideology the participants were found to be experiencing alienation, predicted by Karl Marx, struggling with the loss of meaning towards their work, as described by Max Weber and at risk of anomie discussed by Emile Durkheim.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: Work
New Capitalism
Reflexive Modernity
Social Constructionism
Critical Discourse Analysis

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